Sandy Paterson Mountaineering

This is a blog of my personal and work climbing along with all the other things I do in the outdoors. Please feel free to have a look at my main website.

Over winter I will try and blog at the end of each week, however I will aim to tweet each day so feel free to follow me @SandyPMIC

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Almost dry on Fingers Ridge

With a forecast of light winds and showers today Lucy, John and I headed into Coire an t-Sneachda with the plan of climbing fingers ridge. The corrie was quiet with a few other walking groups out but no one else climbing. The showers came and went but they were light although some were hail and snow! Although the rock was cold it was fairly dry after the first pitch and made for pleasant climbing.

We climbed the route in 4 pitches with Lucy and John building their own belays at each stance before belaying each other up. This gave them lots of practice at the ropework that they learnt yesterday and more practice at placing gear. They are now in a good position for leading some routes tomorrow.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Dry Rock!

I have been joined for the next 5 days by Lucy and John for some rock climbing. With a rather damp forecast for much of Scotland I had been watching the rain radar carefully in the hope of staying dry. My hunch that our best bet after a coffee and chat this morning was to head to Duntelchaig and the Pinnacle crag area. Thankfully it paid off and after one short shower in the morning we had a dry and sunny day (my first on in May!).

We spent the day climbing routes, looking at belaying, equalising anchor points, abseiling, protecting abseils and gear placement. Fingers crossed the rest of the weeks weather is as good as today's!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

D of E Assessment in the Rain!

I have been out for the last 2 days assessing a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh group. The route took them from Killin to Lochearnhead via Balquhidder. Whilst it was not the most challenging of routes the weather was not making life easy for them with heavy rain, strong winds and unseasonal cold temperatures. Still they all did well and passed this part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

I have a day off today to dry kit and myself before meeting Lucy and John for 5 days of rock climbing, fingers crossed for some dry weather.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Already thinking of next winter!

Whilst Europe had a snow starved season, across the pond they had it good! Mmmm what will it be like next year......were to go!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Old Man of Stoer

The Old Man of Stoer from the mainland

Bill on the far side of the tyrolean with Natasha on the way across

Me......getting a good soaking by some big swell!!!
Bill and Natasha on a slightly damp summit
It was an early start yesterday for me to meet up with Bill and Natasha in Inverness before heading north to the Old Man of Stoer. We were not confident we would even get out of the car at the other end as we drove up through heavy rain and strong winds. When we arrived at the start of the walk in it had stopped raining but was still very windy, so we headed along the coast to see what conditions were like. On arrival at the stack we were glad to see a tyrolean in place as the tide was high and the swell was big.......enough for me to get a good soaking as I went across the tyrolean!

Once on the route the first pitch (the normal second pitch) passed quickly on dry rock, however it started to rain and the rest of the route was a mixture between greasy and wet! It was a bit of a fight to the top but we all got there and Natasha did brilliantly for her first time climbing outside. We then abseiled back down to the to top of our second pitch and then another short abseil back to the start of the tyrolean (that started from the end of the normal first pitch).

A great adventure although next time I think I will pick a dry day to climb it!

I now have a few days off before some Duke of Edinburgh assessments and then a weeks climbing with clients next week. It would be nice if it stopped snowing in the mountains, it is meant to be summer!

Friday, 20 May 2011

Thursday 19th - Sgurr Alasdair

The forecast was again not great for today but we were keen to get back onto the ridge after our days rock climbing yesterday. We headed into Coir a' Ghrunnda in the dry and then entered the rather damp cloud just above coire level. We climbed Sgurr Alasdair via the South West ridge taking the chimney option not the bad step. From the summit of Alasdair the plan had been to head over Sgurr Thearlaich and onto Sgurr Mhic Choinnich via either Collies Ledge or the King's Chimney, however it was getting wetter and wetter and a little to windy so we headed down the fast Great Stone Shoot.

A great final day and nice to get to the top of Skye's highest mountain even if we could not see anything!

I have a day off tomorrow before heading up to climb the Old Man of Store in Saturday.

Wednesday 18th - Rock Climbing at Elgol

Mick preparing for some steep Sandstone!

Rob on belay duty
The forecast for today was not good, persistent rain and gusts of 75mph, not what you want for scrambling on exposed ridges! So we headed around to the village of Elgol for a spot of rock climbing. We spent the day doing some climbing on School House Buttress that gives a handful of steep VS routes in lovely rough sandstone. We managed to avoid the worst of the showers and were happy we were not up high. After we all had tired arms and sore fingers we went and had tea and cake in the Elgol Coffee shop!

Tuesday 17th - Bidein Druim nan Ramh

Heading up The Spur on Sgurr an Fheadain

The team below the 3 tops of Bidein Druim nan Ramh

Mick and Stu on the central summit of Bidein with Loch Coruisk behind

Rob, Gez and Martin leaving the central summit of Bidein

The forecast for day 2 was for it to be breeze in the morning but dry and then things going a little wrong in the afternoon. So with a slightly earlier start we headed into the ridge via the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle and up The Spur (Grade 2) on Sgurr an Fheadain. This give a great approach as you get the most possible scrambling in as the route starts low down. Once on the main ridge we traverse the 3 tops of Bidein Druim nan Ramh, this involves some tricky scrambling and a few abseils in some exposed positions but the weather stayed dry for us on this section. After this is was back to grade 2/3 scrambling with a traverse of An Caisteal and its two gaps to jump (or scramble around!) and another abseil into the gap between An Caisteal and Bruach na Frithe. At this stage it started to rain a little but we still managed to make it to the top of Bruach na Frithe and started off down the North West ridge before the heavens really opened! It was fairly wild on the way down the ridge and back to the car but we still made good time.

A classic day with lots of technical mountaineering terrain covered, just what the Cuillin is best for.

Monday 16th - Am Bhasteir & Bhasteir Tooth

I am on Skye this week working with Rob Johnson and 4 clients. The forecast for today was looking a little damp and windy however keen to get onto the ridge we headed up into Choire Bhasteir and up the east ridge of Am Bhasteir via the bad step. From the summit we continued heading west with an abseil and took in the summit of Bhasteir's Tooth before heading down the kings chimney via a few abseils and back to the cars. The cloud was in all day and although the wind dropped the rain did not stop. Still we all had a great day with the squeezing through the cave and abseil in the Kings Chimney being the highlights!

No photos today as it was a little too damp!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Summer Time!

I have been out with the 1st Year Students from West Highland College today. The aim of the day was to look at leadership styles and the COLT Model for Leadership. We headed to the end of Glen Nevis and headed up to the Col just north of Meall Cumhann and then on to its summit. On the way we used some role play games to look at position of a leader in the group, style of leadership and dealing with common issues. We also found some rocky steps above the col to look at group management through steeper terrain. On the way down just for good measure we through in some common medical issues that a leader might have to deal with.

A great day with a keen team. The weather was not so great! We had a mixture of heavy showers, some sun and strong certainly did not feel very summer like!

I have the next few days off before heading over to Skye on Sunday for 5 days, fingers crossed the weather improves up there for next week.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Climbing Indoors and Out

I was working for West Highland College again yesterday with their 2nd Year students who were running indoor climbing sessions for a group of P6 Primary School children at the Ice Factor. The students did really well running fun and safe sessions, all good experience for them as they work towards doing the Climbing Wall Award Assessment.

It was climbing outside today! I was joined by Martin and Kirstin and we headed into Glen Nevis. The aim of the day was to look at different rope work systems that Martin will need to use as an climbing instructor. With a less than inspiring weather forecast we aimed to stay on the easier routes and spent the day looking at climbing in series, parallel, some of the common issues with both of the systems and then multiple abseil retreats from crags.

It was a good day even through at time a little damp and chilly. The odd midge was out and I fear it is only a matter of time now till they are out in force!

Sorry no pictures today for some reason every time I try to upload them my computer thinks it is a security threat!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Enjoying the good weather!

View from the top of the 1st pitch of Grand Diedre

Bill on the 1st pitch of Grand Diedre

Wild fire in Glen Sheil
I am just back from another trip across to the west. On Tuesday I was at the Ice Factor assessing 2nd Year students from West Highland College who were running indoor climbing sessions for Primary School children. It was not a great day to be indoors but all 3 students did really well. That evening after a quick solo up some routes in Glen Nevis I headed across to Skye to meet up with Bill the next morning.

So with another stunning day forecast Bill and I headed into Coir' a' Ghrunnda with the aim of doing some climbing. We headed to Commando Cracks first which we did in 2 pitches not the 4 or 5 it mentions in the guide books! We then headed back down to the bags via the chimney on the side of Sgurr Alasdair. After this we wandered along to Grand Diedre to the right of the TD gap. This gave 2 awesome pitches of climbing and finished at the ab point into the gap. We abseiled into the gap and then scrambled down the broken gully and back to the bags. It was then time to walk out and head to the pub!

This morning the original plan had been to head back up into the Cuillin but the weather changed over night and so we left Skye and headed back east. A quick mornings climb was had a Moy before heading home.

A great few days. Fingers crossed this damp spell does not last too long!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Warm in the Sun!

I have been climbing down at Cummingston today with Monty. It was a popular choice today with around 15 other people climbing. As you can imagine the rock was bone dry but it is still chilly in the shade with a cool breeze coming in off the North Sea, that said when in the sun it was t-shirt weather!

I am off to Fort William tomorrow to do some work for West Highland College and then onwards to Skye to take advantage of the good weather, fingers crossed it holds. Then on Saturday I am doing some CPD on Movement Coaching with Dave MacLeod at the Ice Factor.

Sorry no photos today!

Summer ML Video

A short video from last weeks Summer Mountain Leader Training......note the awesome weather!